Oxhill News

www.oxhill.com / www.oxhill.org.uk

South Warwickshire, England.

The Oxhill News

June 2012

This months News



Royal Connections 

My story begins with a very cross 9 year old, my mother, who was selected to dance round a Maypole for the Coronation of Edward VII dressed as a poppy when she wanted so much to be a cornflower. Marguerites were the white flowers

I was 7 when George Vth died and was briefly succeeded by the uncrowned Edward VIII before George VI, his brother, was crowned in 1936. My mother and older brother and sister experienced this momentous occasion in the Mall. No TV then.

But I digress. I had just started my post as Occupational Therapist in January 1952, at the Warneford in Leamington Spa, when the King died next month. I well remember that on the day of the funeral EVERTHING stopped. I was on a bus going home when the driver and all passengers got out and stood silently in the road.

Then came the excited preparations for the coronation of his daughter Elizabeth, a young mother of only 27. So I was determined to follow tradition and be there to experience this special event at first hand.

A friend and I went by train to London to join crowds who thronged the city to see the spectacular decorations in The Mall. There were triumphal arches in gold and blue with enormous crowns suspended underneath, unfurled standards on the lamp posts, flags and bunting everywhere and banks of spectator stands.

We spent the night on the very hard floor of the Metal Box Co. head office, where my friend's fiancée worked.  With so many other people squeezed in it was like a refugee camp. But not for long. At 4a.m. we set off to stake our claim for a good view in Whitehall at the entrance to Old Scotland Yard (Remember Whitehall 1212?).  No one had tents and camping equipment in those days, we just jostled in the ever bulging happy crowd. It poured with rain but no one cared. Oh! the joy of policemen looking across the street at each other for there would be no trouble. Happy days!

The first excitement was the arrival of the dust carts to sweep the streets--- loud cheers--- official cars drove up and down and then newsboys circulated calling out the splendid news, rippling through the crowd, that Edmund Hillary and Tensing had conquered Everest -----Much louder cheers. Then, with rising excitement, the jangle of harnesses and thrill of military bands starting far away and gradually nearing Trafalgar Square we could almost see the start of the procession of Presidents and Potentates, Kings and Princes resplendent in uniforms and National Costumes streaming past keeping dry in carriages. All that is except the 6ft2" Queen Salote of Tonga accompanied by a miniscule Indian dignitary in an open landau---- she must have been soaked!!.We were. And then the crescendo roar as the State Coach came into view and our first sight of the young Queen and Prince Philip. (You have all read about the rest).

Many had curious shaped cardboard periscope things to see over peoples’ heads and there was much clicking of box cameras and Baby Brownies and then she was gone, but not before reports by loud speakers of what subsequently happened when she arrived at the Abbey and the service relayed outside.  Afterwards, damp but in high spirits we surged up the Mall, after the police, to see the balcony scene and fly past.

WHAT A DAY and then to the train in the small hours for work at 9a.m. next day Waiting for the 'bus in the Kenilworth Rd. I fell asleep on the pavement only to be rescued by the radiologist on his way to the Hospital, I was just so tired.

That was my Coronation story and I would not have missed the experience of being there for the world.


Myrtle Knight

This site is maintained by villagers of Oxhill for the benefit of the community and those interested in the history, news and activities that make the village such a pleasant place to live.

Send mail to the editor of the Oxhill News at news-editor @ oxhill.org.uk.

©2012 Oxhill Village (Terms and Conditions of use)

Last modified: June 18, 2012